An open letter to my Geometry students

Dear VBA,

Let me pour out my soul. I am deeply touched by you, my students in Geometry whom I spent a year almost ten months with. This is only possible because of the risks I took and as well as your responsiveness.

I am not a Geometry teacher but I tried being one and I finally became one. I am very vocal of that I am not a math major and you, the students, know it. Is it because you don’t have a choice? Maybe yes or no. You could have complained me with the admin but you didn’t do it or should I say you won’t dare do it. Or no because you don’t have any teacher available to share knowledge of measuring plane Geometry. Or are you afraid of the one teacher you once had? You don’t need to answer me.

At first, I am actually more than happy to take the opportunity since I want to use my license in teaching, practice mentoring, and because of my love for Mathematics. I know it’s a love-and-hate relationship when I was still a student. And now that I finished my duties as a teacher inside the class, I can say that my disposition remained the same. I am still happy that I was able to teach Math to the lovely and vibrant class of VBA, you guys, the section I handled.

It was a risk because I am not an expert in Geometry and not even a Math major in college. I was vulnerable to be called as someone who doesn’t even know what I was teaching. That never happened and I am thankful that it didn’t happen. I risked being wrong sometimes because that’s my challenge to the students: risk being wrong, to commit mistakes, bounce back and learn from these mistakes. Some overdid it actually. But I am proud that they were able to do it: err boldly.

Your class, though noisy most of the time, was easy to handle and ideal for a rookie teacher like me. You respected me as your teacher through your courteousness, listens when I want to say something important, and are open to share your frustrations, struggles, and even triumphs. I know that since I asked you to write journal entries during the second half of the school year. And even without those writings, you were still open to express those emotions inside our class. I proposed Remedial classes and you attended them. You could have opted to sleep more in the morning before P.E. time every Saturday but you are willing to sacrifice your free time. As mathematicians, not all of you are brilliant. However, you showed resilience and that’s the most important lesson you can take away from our class. To bounce back, to commit mistakes and learn from them, and the willingness to try again are important in learning as well as in living as human beings in terms of your relationships and reaching for your aspirations in life.

I am happy as your teacher VBA. I am happy to meet students like you. So in this final day of the school year, I have to let you go guys. I will always remember you in my prayers. You will always have a special place in my heart. You are the first class I ever handled and that makes it more memorable. As I said to one of your classmates, no one can ever replace you. That’s right, you are ever unique.

I pray for your bond as a section to be a lot stronger and closer. May you be away from all useless anxieties. And may you all grow well and be yourselves. Don’t ever pretend to be someone whom you are not.

Maraming salamat VBA.

See you again.

Br. Allen, FMS

I don’t know why math really loves Allen

Last March, I saw Sir Eric, my former math teacher, and told him I’m taking the LET. He hinted the possibility of me teaching mathematics in my former school. I just shrugged, thinking it’s very likely. Yes, I love math when I was in high school but it’s just wayward from my career path knowing my college degree and vocation taken (religious life). It doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I just, maybe unconsciously, had avoided math related courses. I scrapped Engineering and Computer Science and went to Psychology maybe for the love of math. You know, absence makes the heart grow fonder so I yonder. Yucky, right? Now that I’m in Education, which I don’t really like but I don’t hate it also, it seems that I’m in a profession where I never imagined to be until I entered Marist Brothers.

Fast forward. After four months, here I am now in the same faculty with my math teacher teaching geometry. While talking to Sir Eric and Sir Honesto, my former trigonometry teacher, I said “Well, I taught in one of our classes about statistics in college.”

“Now look… you really did go to teaching math as expected”, as he puts it. From my engineering graduate father and older brother, a sister and brother who teaches math, and a mother who is an accountant, I think you know where I’m going now.

No matter what I do, I really belong to math.

How I got to teaching Geometry

There are Typhoon Egay in the country so no classes. To make my time productive aside from Facebook and NBA 2K14 (outdated gaming), here I am blogging.

I’m teaching Geometry now. It’s a shift in career from a Psychology major, to a Catholic religious Brother, to a secondary teacher, and now a math instructor. Yes, I love Math and it’s just funny how I got this teaching load.

Here’s the story:

First week of June, I was asked if I am interested to substitute a teacher in the Afternoon Shift, an outreach education program for the poor kids here near Marist School and Marikina City. On the second week, I went to school to be given the Learning Plan, a textbook, and the Course Outline for the whole school year. And the following day, I started teaching Geometry to Grade 9 students. That was quick.

Postscript: In case you’re wondering, we start our classes in June until March or April; some schools start their school year in August until May starting this year.